Great Canadian getaways — no flights required.
When I was a young — and childless — creative living in Brooklyn, it wasn’t that difficult or unusual to fly to New Orleans for the weekend, or to three South American cities for a week-long holiday. Now, as a parent of pre-schoolers, those red-eye flights and last-minute trips are no longer a viable travel option. Instead of scanning Kayak’s discount flight map ahead of long weekends, these days I’m often looking for leisure and adventure ideas that are located a bit closer to home.
Whether you’re hoping for an effortless family staycation or a romantic couple’s weekend, here are four ideas you’ll want to get on the books this fall.
Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Quebec
Book a luxurious spa day
From Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Quebec to Scandinave Spa at Ontario’s Blue Mountain, there are a number of wonderful spas with beautiful settings and luxurious treatment packages across Canada. With features like salt-water pools, Banyä (or Russian-style exfoliation) treatment rooms and outdoor, all-season hot tubs, these spacious country spas offer the perfect setting to relax and connect with your partner or best friends away from everyday distractions. You’ll probably feel recharged after just one day of pampering, although many of the bigger spas also offer onsite accommodations, in case you want to make a weekend out of it.
The lobby at Hotel X Toronto
Find an urban hotel that feels like a resort
In cities like Vancouver and Montreal, space is at a premium, and (surprisingly) not every luxury hotel comes with staycation-appropriate perks like large swimming pools and guest rooms with expansive views.
In contrast, the newly-opened Hotel X Toronto, located on the grounds at Exhibition Place near the waterfront of Lake Ontario, offers a rooftop pool, a 250-seat cinema and smaller screening room with free movie showings, plus access to tennis and squash courts, Reformer Pilates, spinning and hot yoga rooms. Pet-friendly and kid-friendly — there are kids’ books in the lobby library, candy bowls at the Kandy art gallery, and a spacious, supervised fee-access play centre — the Library Hotel Collection property’s unrivaled list of resort-like amenities makes it an ideal in-town escape for the whole family.
Brunch at Kiin in Toronto
Play tourist in your own city
Even if you don’t want to travel more than 15 minutes from your downtown nest, it’s possible to take a real break from your everyday routine and obligations by committing to new experiences, and booking back-to-back feel-better treats with those friends you’ve been meaning to catch-up with for months.
An example of our idea of an ideal Sunday in Toronto: nibbling through the Royal Thai brunch at Kiin, experiencing an essential-oil mixology experience at Hoame, and browsing the shops of Kensington Market and Chinatown for a few hours before grabbing early cocktails and tapas at Bar Raval.
Lyttleton in Prince Edward County, Ontario
Pretend you have a “country house”
Now that the peak summer traveling period is over, the coolest cottage and countryside rentals are much more available, not to mention affordable. Sites like HomeAway and Airbnb are a great starting point, but don’t discount the power of social media and your personal network when looking for an awesome vacation rental, especially if your work schedule is flexible and you can travel on weekdays.
Instead of hosting a dinner party this fall, why not book a lakefront house in Kelowna or designer-decorated suite in Prince Edward County for a couple of days and invite friends to pop by for a social visit? You’ll make some great memories, and, best of all, thanks to your chic rental, there’ll be no need to declutter or clean before the guests arrive!